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Pakistan-India ties clouded preparations for the ODI World Cup

NEW DELHI: Six months before the expected start of the Cricket World Cup in India, the schedule of games is still a secret. This is because geopolitics are making it hard to plan for the big event.

The delay is very different from what happened for the 2019 event, when the dates and locations for the tournament in England and Wales were announced more than a year in advance, as is normal for big sports events.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has co-hosted three ODI World Cups before, so putting on the 10-team tournament in October and November shouldn’t be too hard for the biggest board in the world.

But bad political ties between Pakistan and India have made things harder, and cricket is now caught in the middle of the fight between the two neighbors, who only play each other in tournaments with more than one team.

India has decided not to go to Pakistan for the Asia Cup in September. Instead, they will probably play their games at a neutral site because the organizers have agreed on a “hybrid” model, which is likely to get a “tit-for-tat” reaction.

Media reports said that the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) made a similar request at the ICC board meetings in Dubai last month. However, in a statement released last week, the PCB said that it may push for the mixed model “at the right ICC forum at the right time.”

If Pakistan agreed to go to India, the BCCI would have to get permission from the Indian government for Pakistan to get a visa.

A person with direct knowledge of the talks told Reuters that moving matches out of India hadn’t even been talked about and that the schedule would be released “in due course.”

Cricket news website has claimed that the BCCI has yet to receive a tax exemption for the tournament from the Indian government, which is part of the hosting deal it signed with the ICC.

Should it fail to gain the exemption the BCCI has said the amount could be deducted from its share of the ICC’s central revenue pool.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah was not available right away to answer questions about the plan, but in a statement released by the ICC on Saturday about the tournament’s brand identity, he promised to put on a “memorable event.”

Shah said, “We can’t wait until October to see world-class cricket at the one-day game’s most important event and for India to host an amazing show.”

Cricinfo says the World Cup will begin on October 5 and end on November 19 at the biggest cricket stadium in the world, in Ahmedabad.